After years of favoring mass-produced wooden furniture, consumers are buying hand-crafted artisanal products like never before. If you like working with your hands and have a creative edge, a woodworking business can be a lucrative way to make money on the side. Launching such an outfit is challenging and requires careful preparation to pull off. When starting your own woodworking enterprise, keep the following in mind to ensure that the experience is a fruitful and more importantly profitable one.
Select a Woodworking Specialty
When you’re first starting out, it’s best to settle on one specific area of woodworking to minimize start-up costs and improve efficiency. For instance, you may want to focus on building Shaker tables and chairs or perhaps bureaus and desks. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you might consider specializing in big-ticket items like canoes. Whatever you decide to do, keep things simple in the beginning and worry about expanding your repertoire in the future.
Flesh Out a Business Strategy
Once you’ve settled on a wheelhouse, you’ll need to consider how you’ll actually go about structuring your startup like popcorn side business. Carefully consider the types of customers you’ll be going after, the prices that you’ll charge and your expected net profit per item. Now’s the time to decide on how you’ll go about distributing your creations. You may choose to hand them off to a local furniture store or you may want to sell them yourself.
Buy the Necessary Equipment for Woodworking Business
There are plenty of must-have items that are pretty universal for woodworkers of all stripes. For starters, a good all-purpose table saw and a band saw are both critical tools for any woodworker. In addition, a drill press always comes in handy. Planers, joiners and lathes are also usually required for many jobs. Naturally, you’ll need a place to work such as a garage or a backyard shed that’s well-ventilated and has plenty of space.
Acquire Knowledge and Skills in Woodworking Business
Even if you’re a solid hobby woodworker, you’ll need to up your game to produce hardware that people are willing to pay top dollar for. Spend a month or two churning out an array of wood products in a variety of styles. You can teach yourself to be a topnotch artisan using nothing more than YouTube instructional videos like food blog and a little trial and error. Just be sure that you’re a seasoned professional before getting started.
Lock Down Bulk Wood & Tool Suppliers
If you’re serious about making finance your side business with woodworking, you’re going to go through quite a bit of raw lumber and tools along the way. Talk to local and international lumber providers to lock down long-term deals on quality input materials. Think about how much storage space you’ll need to stockpile good wood. Furthermore, it’s always best to keep a pile of spare blades, finishing products and cleaning supplies on hand.
Take Care of the Red Tape & Paperwork
Once you’re almost ready to go into production, you’ll need to register your shop as a business. Research safety regulations concerning woodworking shops in your area and whether they apply to your business. Incorporate as an LLC or other corporate entity and have a lawyer draft any necessary contracts. Finally, set up a business account for your concern with a credit union or bank.
Produce Some Preliminary Inventory
Even if your business strategy is to produce “made to order” merchandise for specific clients, it’s always good to have samples on hand. Put together some chairs, tables or cabinets that potential clients can look at to entice them. You can hand out some of your handiwork to friends and family so that they can spread the good word to their associates. Play around with different materials and styles in order to reach the broadest audience possible.
Market to the General Public
Whether you’re selling your goods on your own or handing them off to third parties, it never hurts to build a brand. Use Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to increase awareness of your unique woodworking creations. Outside of the social media realm, you can always network with other woodworking enthusiasts in person at trade shows and local markets. Print up some business cards and sales literature that you can hand out in the right situations.
Branch Out into New Territory of Woodworking Business
As with any industry, the woodworking field is prone to waxing and waning trends that are hard to predict. If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll need to diversify for sustainable success. If you mostly do cabinetry, think about learning how to make wooden bowls for chefs. Alternatively, you could monetize your expertise by teaching classes to beginner woodworkers. There’s no limit to what you can do with woodworking know-how if you’re open to change.